You’ll see it on signs and banners at abortion rallies: “Keep Abortion Safe, Legal, and Rare.” This sentiment is often championed and portrayed as “something we can all agree on.” But is it really a desire we have, let alone one that we should be making heard? How does this kind of logic affect the abortion movement and all those who seek abortions?
Can you think of a movie or television show that portrays abortion as an option for one of its characters? These are the dominant narratives about abortion – the stories we see and hear that shape how we perceive the procedure. Meanwhile, where are the real stories? Where are the realities, the facts and the lived experiences of actual people having abortions?
Despite what we like to think, feminism is not always the inclusive space that we want it to be. It can actually be an unsafe place for those seen as outsiders. A small (but vocal!) minority of feminists has a history of purposefully excluding trans struggles from feminism. And not only is this harmful for trans people, but it actually weakens feminism. Here’s why.
Outside of the abortion clinic, we stand quietly in bright orange vests that read Pro-Choice Escort. We’re just trying to get the patients safely to the door, which often requires us to physically block the protesters who are shoving things in front of patients. I see the pain that these protesters have caused, the confusion and the vulnerability. We need clinic escorts now more than ever.
Pronouns are an important part of our language. Using the right pronouns in our own daily language and asking others to do the same isn’t enough to change the extreme transphobia, discrimination, and violence that trans* people experience, but it’s a simple way to use language to show respect for our friends, to make trans* issues visible, and to challenge gender-based oppression.
You’ve seen the signs: “Pregnant? Scared? Alone? We Can Help.” Have you ever responded to one? Thousands of women have. Usually promising free services like pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and “judgment-free” counseling, these centers reach out to women in potentially vulnerable positions, claiming to offer hope and help. But what are they really like?